I had a blast! It was a true pleasure getting to see some old friends, make some new ones, and enjoy the beauty of the night sky. The skies in Chiefland are dark and steady…when you can see them. The first couple of nights were a bust with lots of clouds and rain, but mid-week turned out to be great. Transparency was off and on, but seeing was pretty solid. That’s the advantage of a week long star party. Chances are you will get some good observing/imaging at least part of the event. Even still, if it rains the whole time, there is lots to learn and fellowship to be had!
During the daytime, several speakers gave presentations ranging from image processing with PixInsight, Mars science missions, the importance of flat fielding, and mirror making. I have the humble pleasure of being a beta tester for Software Bisque‘s Raspberry Sky project, and even participated with Richard Wright’s presentation on mobile imaging with the Paramount. This is an exciting project that will transform the mobile imager’s life! It’s basically TheSkyX running on a Raspberry Pi 2 Model B. That means instead of lugging a power hungry laptop (and the batteries for it) to a remote site, you can run a 10 watt mini-computer right off the versa plate and control everything from a VNC viewer of your choice (like and iPad mini 3 for me). There will be more to come on this development!
I did manage to characterize my Paramount MyT (finally!) and develop a model to enable PEC and ProTrack. The results exceeded my expectations! My measured raw PEC was .9 arcsecs peak to peak…amazing. I have lots of data to play with now, including ten minute unguided exposures of the Fox Fur Nebula.
Below is the Rosette Nebula in Ha, a total of 10 five minute sub exposers…unguided! Imaging train was the William Optics ZenithStar 80 ED II APO, TeleVue .8 FR, and QSI 532ws. Enjoy, and clear skies!